NEW YORK (Monday, August 30, 2021) – FC Dallas forward Ricardo Pepi has been voted the Major League Soccer Player of the Week for Week 22 of the 2021 MLS season.
Pepi scored two goals and added an assist in FC Dallas’s 5-3 win against Austin FC at Q2 Stadium on Sunday evening. He was named the MLS Player of the Week for the second time this season and in his career, also getting the honor in Week 15 after becoming the youngest player in league history to score a hat trick.
Pepi started the FCD goal parade in just the fifth minute. As Austin FC looked to play the ball out of their own penalty area, Pepi knocked the ball off the goalkeeper’s feet right to teammate Jesús Ferreira, who scored the first of his two goals on the right (WATCH HERE).
Pepi added his name to the goal list with his first in the 36th minute. Taking a square pass near the top of the center of the penalty area, Pepi hit a low shot on the half-turn that slipped just inside the left-hand post (WATCH HERE).
The FC Dallas Academy product then doubled his count with FCD’s fourth goal in the 40th minute. Racing free down the right flank, Pepi ran into the box and cut toward the right side of the goal before hammering a low drive past the ‘keeper inside the near post (WATCH HERE).
The brace gave Pepi 11 goals for the season, now in fifth place in the race for the MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi. Pepi is just the second teenager in MLS history to score in double-digits in a season, along with Diego Fagundez, who had 13 goals in 2013 for New England (and also scored in the Austin-Dallas game). Pepi’s 13 career league goals are fourth-most by a teenager in MLS history.
Earlier in the week, Pepi was the hero of the MLS All-Stars penalty shootout win against the LIGA MX All-Stars in the 2021 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target, hitting the final and match-winning spot kick off the underside of the crossbar and into the goal to give the MLS team the victory in the post-match decider (WATCH HERE).
Pepi has been called into the U.S. national team for the first time, for its trio of FIFA World Cup qualifiers which kicks off Thursday vs. El Salvador in San Salvador, then continuing vs. Canada in Nashville (Sunday, Sept. 5), followed by a match vs. Honduras in San Pedro Sula (Wednesday, Sept. 8).
FC Dallas will be back in action on Saturday evening when they travel to take on Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium (8 p.m. ET, UniMás / TUDN).
The MLS Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season through both media and fan voting in a process conducted by MLS Communications. A panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) comprises 75 percent of the vote, while a Twitter fan vote represents the remaining 25 percent of voting. NASR consists of members of print, television, radio and online media.
COURTESY MLS COMMUNICATIONS